Jill & Dan’s Colorful Portland Home

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

Name: Jill and Dan and their 2-year-old, Branson
Location: Hillsdale; Portland, Oregon
Size: 4,100 square feet
Years lived in: 6.5 years; Owned

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When Jill and Dan moved from a small condo in Portland’s Pearl District to their brand-new home in the Hillsdale neighborhood, they weren’t in a hurry to fill the house up with furniture and things that didn’t have meaning for them. Jill, a graphic designer, fondly remembers asking friends to “bring their own chair” on the invitations to some of the first parties that she hosted in the home. Over the past six years, she and Dan, an engineer at Intel, have enjoyed making their new-construction home feel like “them.” They love to collaborate on DIY projects—she comes up with the designs, he executes the plans.

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

In addition to sharing a love of DIY projects, Jill and Dan are both voracious travelers. Inspired by Jill’s grandmother, who was also a world traveler, they’ve filled their home with mementos and references to the many destinations they’ve experienced together. Jill is an avid supporter of local artists and craft-makers and also enjoys making things herself. Walking through their home feels like a treasure hunt of sorts—there are so many fun details to explore.

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Classic, modern, eclectic, new traditional. It’s always changing. It’s hard to think of myself as having a specific style. Our home is an evolving masterpiece that represents who we are and what we love.

“When you’re a creative person you are always compelled to make stuff, it haunts you every day” –Jonathan Adler.

My home is my canvas and a direct expression of who I am. I strive for everyone who experiences our home to be stimulated as well as to find comfort and ease.

Inspiration: I like to be surrounded by elements that remind me of moments, people, and places; that have an interesting history; or that are something I envisioned and created myself. Pick out anything in my home and I guarantee that there is a story behind it. Being a designer and an etiquette junky, it’s all about the details.

Favorite Element: I love the natural light that the numerous windows throughout the house provide. As a result we haven’t even put in blinds or window coverings on most of the windows.

Biggest Challenge: Outdoor spaces. The challenge of having an outdoor space that we can enjoy throughout the year presents itself because of two things: pine trees and rain. We have two beautiful, old pine trees on the lot. Although we like to sit on our porch and smell the pine, listen to the wind floating through the branches, and take shelter under the shade, the trees also drop a lot of pollen, needles, and pine cones throughout the changing seasons. The dream of sitting outside and enjoying a cocktail or hosting a summer barbecue seems out of reach.

Oh, and rain, it rains in Portland… a lot.

What Friends Say: “Will you come over and decorate my home?” and/or “Can we have our party here?” It’s flattering when I’m engaged in a conversation with friends about our next get-together and they all turn to me and say, “Of course we have to have it at Jill and Dan’s house.” We have hosted birthday parties, baby showers, engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, acted as a bridal suite, and even had a casino night with roulette and blackjack tables.

When we first moved into the house from a small studio condominium, we had not much more than a bed and a couch. Not nearly enough to fill a five-bedroom house. Instead of filling our new home with furniture out of necessity, we decided to fill it with excitement and love. The first year we hosted many gatherings for friends and loved ones. I even recall putting “bring your own chair” on an invitation. People loved it. We had wonderful parties that filled our “empty” house with laughter, love, and new memories. Having these great memories as a foundation created an amazing gathering place for us and the people in our lives. Even now, surrounded by furnishings, we can still throw a great party!

Biggest Embarrassment: Dining table and chairs—which I believe to be one of the most important elements in a home. It’s where you gather to break bread, tell stories, and play games. We have a dream of a custom-made table with club chairs and bench seating under the windows. Topped off by an epic chandelier. This is our next space to tackle. It takes time to find something you truly love and is functional for your lifestyle.

Proudest DIY: The guest bedroom—I wanted the room to remind me of a luxurious hotel: regal, cozy, romantic, and a little reminiscent of the time we spent in Paris. It was our first attempt at wallpaper and we went for the paint-able wallpaper variety. Wallpaper gets a bad rap. Everyone told us not to do it, including my husband, but I had a vision and I was determined. I spent a lot of time talking about my vision beforehand with Walter at Miller Paint. I had his number on speed dial. We dove right in and the wallpaper turned out great. We also created a tufted headboard, following instructions on a DIY blog.

Biggest Indulgence: Chesterfield Sofa. I love everything about this piece.

Best Advice: Let your home be an expression of who you are and what you love. It will grow and change as you do.

“People should choose objects for their home with passion, love, and emotion. You must give your interior some time to grow with your experience. Let it be a combination of important discoveries from your own life.” –Veerle Wenes

Dream Sources: Anthology Magazine, Room & Board, Jonathan Adler, Restoration Hardware, Rejuvenation, and of course, flea markets… I love the thrill of the hunt.


(Image credit: Heather Keeling)


  • Living room: custom Sherwin-Williams mix of 50% Smokey Blue and 75% Smokey Blue
  • Kitchen: Sherwin-Williams Nomadic Desert
  • Dining room: Sherwin-Williams Nomadic Desert
  • Master bedroom: Miller Paint Robins Egg Blue
  • Master bath: Sherwin-Williams Nomadic Desert
  • Powder room: Miller Paint Devine, Miller Paint Paprika
  • Nursery: custom-matched 2013 Pantone Color Of The Year Emerald
  • Guest room: Miller Paint Dancing in the Spring
  • Basement: Miller Paint Siren
  • Basement accent wall: Miller Paint Film Noir
  • Basement staircase accent wall: Miller Paint Miracle Bay

  • (Image credit: Heather Keeling)


    • Wood chair: estate sale
    • Wood side table: World Market
    • Wool blanket: Pendleton Crater Lake
    • Rug: Angela Adams
    (Image credit: Heather Keeling)


    • Rug: Angela Adams Nasturtium Dusk
    • Chesterfield sofa: Restoration Hardware Kensington
    • Throw pillows: Target, Crate & Barrel, West Elm
    • Rolling bar cart: One Kings Lane
    • Arco floor lamp: City Liquidators in Portland
    • Club chairs: Macy’s
    • Club chair cushions: upholstered by Hawthorne Vintage
      Modern in Portland with Pendleton wool remnants found at Pendleton Woolen Mill Store in Portland
    • White tree trunk jar: Fab.com
    • Bookcase: Kitchen Kaboodle
    • Side table: secondhand from a friend
    • Painting above fireplace: 1-Shot enamel on glass by Brett Bowers purchased at the First Thursday art fair in NW Portland
    (Image credit: Heather Keeling)


    • Table: from a friend
    • Chairs: from a friend
    • Drum light fixture: West Elm
    • Star light pendants: IKEA
    (Image credit: Heather Keeling)


    • Dining table: Amazon.com
    • Chairs: Amazon.com
    • Memory jars: DIY inspired by Young House Love
    • Milk glass collection: thrift stores, gifts
    • Vintage tablecloth: Goodwill
    (Image credit: Heather Keeling)


    • Bedding: West Elm
    • Accent pillow: Target
    • Blue velvet bench: Target
    • Pendant light: West Elm
    • Ship blanket: flea market in Sellwood, OR
    • Dressers: IKEA
    • Nightstands: IKEA
    • Nightstand hardware: Anthropologie
    • Mirror: HomeGoods
    • Glass jars: Michaels
    • His and Hers tea towels: Grand Flea Market in Portland, OR
    • His lamp: IKEA
    • Her lamp: Tord Boontje Daedalus
    (Image credit: Heather Keeling)


    • Wallpaper: High Trad Paintable Textured Vinyl Wallpaper from Miller Paint
    • Ecco orange desk fan: Goodwill
    • Headboard: DIY with fabric from Mill End Store in Beaverton, OR
    • Bedding: Ross
    • Bookshelf: inherited from grandmother
    • Desk: pulled out of a dumpster (It was a clean dumpster!)
    • Drapes: custom-made by a friend
    • Art: Richard Avedon photo prints
    (Image credit: Heather Keeling)


    • Crib: Young America
    • Dresser: Young America
    • Bookshelf: IKEA
    • Rocking chair recliner: Goodnight Room in Tigard, OR
    • Lamp: Target
    • Lampshade: Target
    • Herringbone pouf: The Land of Nod
    • Three-tiered Basket: Amazon.com
    • Mirror: HomeGoods
    • Laundry basket: HomeGoods
    • L’Atlantique print: by A.M. Cassandre from Allposters.com
    • Toy box: designed by Jill and custom-made by Jill’s dad, Donn Markwardt
    • Bunting: custom-made for baby shower by friends
    • Life preserver: custom-made for baby shower by friends
    • Bedding: Pottery Barn Kids
    • Retro globe lamp: Vintage Pink in Portland, OR
    • “BRANSON” painted regatta flags: DIY
    • Mobile: DIY
    • Pendant light: Globe Lighting
    • Toy bins: Container Store
    • Cleat coat hooks: DIY
    (Image credit: Heather Keeling)


    • Tub chandelier: West Elm

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    Thanks, Jill & Dan!